Racing In Formula E Isn't Part Of Lewis Hamilton's Plans To Do Better For The Environment

Lewis Hamilton before the Mexican Grand Prix.
Photo: Mark Thompson (Getty Images)

Lewis Hamilton, who could become a six-time Formula One champion Sunday, has been talking a lot lately about how we all can and should do better for the environment. It’s been suggested, then, that Hamilton trade his hybrid race car in for an electric one in Formula E, but that’s not in his plans.

But it isn’t anything against Formula E, or EV racing in general—Hamilton just doesn’t currently plan to compete outside of F1, even after he’s done there.

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Due to how vocal he’s been, Hamilton was particularly called out by reigning Formula E champion Jean-Eric Vergne, who said he believes “it will be a logical step for [Hamilton] to come in Formula E.” Mercedes, where he’s won most of his F1 titles, is moving into the electric series, so it would be an easy switch if he ever wanted.

But when asked if Formula E is in the plans in a press conference before the Mexican Grand Prix on Thursday, Hamilton basically said no.

“I have no interest whatsoever to do Formula E, so that’s not something I currently plan to do beyond [F1],” he said, via a transcript of the conference.

That was the only mention Hamilton made of Formula E during the conference, thus Jalopnik reached out to his Mercedes team to clarify whether he had any specific reasoning behind not wanting to try the series, as well as whether that viewpoint applies to any other disciplines of racing outside of F1.

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A spokesperson for the team told Jalopnik via email that Hamilton doesn’t think he’ll drive anything else competitively after F1, although, “as always, never say never.”

“He feels it’s the pinnacle of the sport, and hasn’t ever shown an inclination towards other series in the hypothetical future beyond his F1 career (which is far from over yet!),” the spokesperson wrote.

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The questions about Hamilton’s environmental habits including Formula E, of which there were many in the press conference, originated from a social-media post where Hamilton got pretty deep about the climate crisis. Here’s an excerpt:

I’m sad right now with the thought of where this world is going. Extinction of our race becoming more and more likely as we over use our resources. The world is a messed up place. [...]

It’s taken me 32 years to understand the impact I am having on the world and I’m figuring out daily what I can do to play a better part. I want my life to mean something and honestly up until now my life’s had no meaning. [...] I’m striving to do better. I urge you, to do some research, find the compassion I know you have within you to recognize what you are contributing to in terms of what you eat which keeps the meat and dairy industry flourishing and therefore deforestation, animal cruelty, our seas and climate decaying on a daily basis. Go Vegan, it is the only way to truly save our planet today.

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Hamilton’s gotten a lot of blowback about the post since his career inherently comes with a large carbon footprint, given that he competes in a gas-powered race car for show roughly 21 weekends out of the year and flies around the world to do it. But he listed off a number of ways he’s at least trying to do better in the press conference and said he’s trying to make sure he’s carbon neutral by the end of the year. Hamilton didn’t say how he’s calculating that.

“I don’t allow anyone in my office but also within my household to buy any plastics,” he said, via the transcripts. “I want everything recyclable down to deodorant, down to toothbrush, all these kind of things so I’m trying to make as much change as I can in my personal space.

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“I told you I sold my plane over a year ago. I fly a lot less now, I’m trying to fly less through the year and mostly flying commercial so that’s been a big change in my habits. I’ve avoided trips as well, if I didn’t need to do it.”

Hamilton mentioned his vegan diet, and how he’s selling his vehicles or trading a lot of them in for hybrid or electric ones. (But he still has three Mercedes cars in the U.S. alone, he said, which is a lot.) Hamilton also mentioned working with the Mercedes team to reach carbon neutrality and his efforts for sustainability in his clothing line.

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“I don’t know much more I can do at the moment,” he said, pivoting to F1’s switch to hybrids in 2014. “I still love racing and I want to continue with that. We use a third less fuel now. There is more I think that Formula One can do, and I think they are putting plans together.”

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About the author

Alanis King

Alanis King is a staff writer at Jalopnik.